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Counterfactual Romanticism$
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Damian Walford Davies

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781784991418

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526107077

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Romanticism and the (counterfactual) Chinese awakening

Romanticism and the (counterfactual) Chinese awakening

Chapter:
(p.277) 10 Romanticism and the (counterfactual) Chinese awakening
Source:
Counterfactual Romanticism
Author(s):

Peter J. Kitson

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526107077.00016

Imagining the counterfactual at scale, this chapter explores the contours of an all-pervasive China-centric strand of Romantic Orientalism that never was. The chapter accounts for why China as both ‘topos’ and ‘culture’ failed to make as influential a mark on Romantic-period culture as one might have expected it to. Creatively defamiliarising Thomas Percy and Horace Walpole through the lens of the counterfactual, the chapter interpellates the reader through subtle strategies into a new cultural and literary history of the age. The return, at the end, to ‘history’ thus has the force of a repression of the Chinese counterfactual that parallels various evasions and forgettings at work in Romanticism’s own relation to the East.

Keywords:   Counterfactual Romanticism, Romantic counterfactualism, Romantic Sinology, Romantic Orientalism, China project, chinoiserie

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